A red, white and blue tree
When Rugby’s Pat Steig puts up her patriotic themed Christmas tree every year she can’t help but hope it’s the last year.
She transformed her traditional family Christmas tree into a red-white-and-blue tree as a symbol of hope for American soldiers serving in the war in Iraq when the war began in 2003.
“When I first put the tree up when the war started, I figured it would be a few years and it’s ended up to be a few more than I ever thought it would be,” Pat said.
The inspiration for the patriotic tree is Pat and her husband, Roger’s godson, Christopher Vollbrecht. The Burlington native and Army soldier is currently serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. “We do it for Christopher, but it really represents all the soldiers who have served – past and present,” Pat said.
The decorations have grown over the years. She started with a few strings of red-white-and-blue lights and some ornaments. Friends and relatives have added ornaments, as well, over time. Any ornament in red, white or blue makes it on the tree. There are also several special military ornaments such as the Marine Corp hat as well as a few American flag ornaments.
Some years Pat has even used patriotic wrapping paper for all the presents that go under this special tree.
Pat’s first husband, R.D. Foster who passed away in 1974, was a Vietnam veteran. Roger retired from the military after over 20 years and also served in Vietnam, so Pat has always enjoyed collecting and displaying patriotic-themed items in her home. This special Christmas tree holds a place of honor in their home in place of a tree that would be decorated in the traditional fashion with family ornaments.
Pat is anxious to be able to see those special ornaments again that she packed away in 2003 when the war in Iraq started to make way for her patriotic tree. That will mean the war has finally ended and hopefully all soldiers will have made it home safely.
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